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I’m running on the road again

I’m on the road again. Goin’ places that I’ve never been … Don’t worry, I’m not going to sing you the Willie Nelson song. Believe me, you don’t want to hear me sing, but the truth is, I’m on the road again. I mean it literally. I’m running on the road again.

You might be wondering why. If you know me a little bit, you know I dislike running on roads. I find it boring, and it’s bad for my ankles. Yet, I’m doing it and I have a good reason. Well, I think I have. As you know I’m preparing for the UTMB CCC, the 100 kilometres race in the Mont Blanc Massif, from Courmayeur in Italy, through Champex-Lac in Switzerland and finishing in Chamonix (France). It’s a trail, it’s a mountain race. We will have to conquer 6.100 metres of altitude. And it’s a road race. Maybe only partially, but still.

RELATED: Chamonix, here we come

Lots of road ahead

Last week Sara and I were in Courmayeur, so I could run the first kilometres of the race, and get an idea of the first mountain we have to go up. One of the things I discovered is that the first couple of kilometres are on the road. We will start just outside of the centre of Courmayeur, run through the centre, and on the road to the parking below Rifugio Bertone. That’s already 2 kilometres on pavement.

Okay, 2 kilometres isn’t that much. The thing is, those 2 kilometres are only the beginning. To prepare for the UTMB CCC I’ve watched the movie Jeff Pelletier made of his 2022 UTMB race. There is a lot of road in there. Every village he’s passing through, he’s running on asphalt. That means, I’ll be running on asphalt.

I’m not used to doing a lot of road running. All races I’ve been doing in the Netherlands, Belgium and even abroad have been trails only. In training I hardly run on asphalt. From my house to the forest is less than 400 metres. Those 400 I walk as warming up. Only when I’m on the nice, soft, slushy earth do I start to run.

Unforgiving roads

Maybe once, every two or three weeks I do a short 5 kilometres on the road, but that’s just because it’s my sprint training; 7 times 30 seconds. All the rest, even my intervals, I do in the forest. Up until now. From today on, I’m slowly introducing more road to let my ankles and knees get used to the monotonous hammering road running is. So when it’s UTMB CCC time, I’m not only ready for those 100 kilometres and 6.100 metres of altitude, but also for those hard, unforgiving, boring pieces of road.

On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again
Everybody run

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